What’s Going on in Catalunya?

I examine one of my favourite races, about a day later than I intended. Ladies and gentlemen, March is coming to a close and Milano-Sanremo is out of the way, so you know what that means: Yes, it’s time for World Tour stage racing in what most people will tell you is Spain. In a fortnight it’s time for the Euskal Herriko Itzulia but for now we’re in Catalunya for the Volta. Both of these races are clearly the standout cycling events of the next month and I will not hear anything to the contrary. I’m not sure of the reasons behind this, but it seems that Catalunya occupies a strange spot in the form graphs of riders where they can’t be on form to win the race if they’re going to win the Tour — hence Chris Froome would win an early season race, take a short break, then ...

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Yates brothers and Chaves to lead Mitchelton-Scott at Volta a Catalunya

Simon and Adam Yates at the Vuelta a España team presentation

The star trio of Esteban Chaves , Adam Yates and Simon Yates will headline Mitchelton-Scott 's roster at the Volta a Catalunya , which starts on Monday, the team has announced. They spearhead a strong line-up for the Australian squad, who will surely be heading to Spain with ambitions to win the week-long stage race with three potential general classification contenders. Catalunya will be Chaves' second WorldTour stage race of the season, having also ridden Paris-Nice, and the race marks another step on the road back from what was an eight-month lay-off caused by the mononucleosis virus. The Colombian returned to racing in February at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which was his first event since the 2018 Giro d'Italia. Meanwhile, the Yates brothers have seen success already this season, with Adam winning a stage at the Volta a Valenciana and taking second place at last week's Tirreno-Adriatico, after ...

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Lefevere: Alaphilippe can win almost anywhere

Patrick Lefevere announces his new multi-year deal with Deceuninck

Julian Alaphilippe ’s triumph at Milan-San Remo may have been the biggest of his career, and the biggest of Deceuninck-Quick Step ’s season so far, but team boss Patrick Lefevere sees much more in the Frenchman’s future. After seeing his team’s plan carried out to perfection on the Poggio on Saturday afternoon, the veteran manager insisted that Alaphilippe can win almost anywhere, ruling out just one race, Paris-Roubaix. "We knew he was strong, but the great thing is that he makes good progress every year," Lefevere said in an interview with Sporza . "Julian wins a bunch sprint in Tirreno-Adriatico – you could call that a surprise, but not in San Remo. And he beats the strongest riders. "It’s become difficult to choose. Julian wins Milan-San Remo, he can compete in the Walloon [Ardennes] classics, and he was king of the mountains at the Tour de France. I think the ...

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The weekly spin: Breaking down Alaphilippe’s perfect day at Milan-San Remo

It was a who’s who of professional cycling. Barreling down the Poggio, the final climb of Milan-San Remo, was a handful of the top riders in the sport, all in with a shot at winning the first Monument of the season. A few minutes later, that group had swelled to a dozen. There would be … The post The weekly spin: Breaking down Alaphilippe’s perfect day at Milan-San Remo appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Milan-San Remo: Viviani hoping to be Deceuninck-QuickStep's winning option

Elia Viviani wins stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Deceuninck-QuickStep are arguably the only team that have a real chance of winning this year’s Milan-San Remo in every scenario that might unfold on the Ligurian coast on Saturday afternoon. The Belgian team have Julian Alaphilippe , Zdenek Stybar and Philippe Gilbert for an attacking, aggressive scenario on the Cipressa and Poggio, while Elia Viviani and trusted lead-out man Max Richeze can hide in the peloton and wait for a high-speed sprint up the Via Roma. After their run of early-season success, with 18 victories and domination in one-day races, Milan-San Remo is theirs to lose, but that does not frighten the self-styled 'Wolf Pack'. "We’re perhaps under pressure as a team but we live with pressure. Big riders need pressure to win," Viviani responded. "We play on our strength, we’ve shown that many times in the Classics and we showed in the last sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico, when I waited, ...

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Flanders Friday: Rough Roads...

Action in Nokere Koerse

Tragedy, near-misses and hope for better days The Belgian spring cobbled classics season resumed this week and it was an emotional experience from start to finish. The most important news of note was the tragic death of 19-year-old Stef Loos, who was taking part in the Alfred Gadenne Grand Prix last weekend when the peloton departed from the race course, eventually onto open roads. Loos was killed, and several others injured, when a van struck the riders. The race itself, held in Dottignies near the linguistic border just south of Ronse, is dedicated to the memory of a local mayor who was murdered two years ago. The tragic death of Loos deepens the sadness surrounding the event. The cycling community in Belgium suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Stef Loos. The thoughts of everyone at Belgian Cycling are with his family, friends and team-mates at this sad time. ...

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Milan-San Remo preview and Ineos' Team Sky takeover - Podcast

Caleb Ewan, Vincenzo Nibali and Arnaud Demare on the Milan-San Remo podium

In this week's edition of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Sportful, Pinarello, and Floyd's of Leadville, we look back at the action from Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico . We look ahead to this weekend's first Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo , and debate the merits and issues arising from the controversial takeover of Team Sky by Ineos . We also hear from Tirreno-Adriatico winner Primoz Roglic about his victory and his form ahead of the Giro d'Italia; Julian Alaphilippe and Elia Viviani ahead of Milan-San Remo, and Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates and directeur sportif Matt White. There's also time for us to check in with our very own Stephen Farrand, who picks out the key talking points from Tirreno-Adriatico, discusses the pressure on Vincenzo Nibali's shoulders, and highlights just what Milan-San Remo means to the Italian cycling. Sponsor message Born in the Italian Dolomites, Sportful has been ...

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No Milan-San Remo for Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) gets to the finish line in La Rosiere, but not within the time cuts

Dimension Data have revealed their line-up for Milan-San Remo , confirming that 2009 winner Mark Cavendish will be absent. The South African squad will instead be led by sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. Cavendish has raced every edition of La Classicissima since winning on his debut 10 years ago, but has endured a complicated couple of years due to Epstein Barr Virus. The 33-year-old took an extended break in the second half of last year after the virus came back for a second time, and has been easing his way back into racing in 2019. After finishing the Vuelta a San Juan and UAE Tour, where he primarily worked for teammates, he suffered a setback at Paris-Nice last week as he struggled in the crosswinds and abandoned on stage 2. Cavendish is clearly some way short of full strength, as he was absent from the seven-man team for Milan-San Remo announced by ...

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Defending Milan-San Remo champion Nibali leads strong Bahrain-Merida team

Caleb Ewan, Vincenzo Nibali and Arnaud Demare on the Milan-San Remo podium

The winner of last year's Milan-San Remo , Vincenzo Nibali , will lead a strong Bahrain-Merida squad at this year's race on Saturday, and says that he's feeling his form is getting better all the time. The Italian's last race was Tirreno-Adriatico – the traditional build-up race for Milan-San Remo – where he finished 15th overall, and clearly not yet at his best this season. "I'm happy with the 'signals' I got from Tirreno-Adriatico because they showed that my condition is improving," Nibali said on his team's website. Nibali attacked with six kilometres to go at last year's race, soloing to a memorable victory as the bunch bore down on him, with runner-up Caleb Ewan and third-placed Arnaud Démare not quite able to catch him on the line. Nibali will be supported by a strong team that includes Sonny Colbrelli, Matej Mohoric, Marcel Sieberg, and Heinrich Haussler, who finished second ...

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Van Avermaet: Milan-San Remo is easy to finish but hard to win

Greg Van Avermaet of CCC Team attends a press conference ahead of the 74th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Greg Van Avermaet ( CCC Team ) is ready to take another crack at Milan-San Remo on Saturday after having twice finished inside the top 10, including fifth in the 2016 race won by Arnaud Démare in a large bunch sprint. The first Monument race of 2019 is a 291km test that finishes in San Remo along the Via Roma. Van Avermaet has so far this season taken just one win, stage 3 at the Volta a Valenciana in Spain, but he's shown he's on form for the Classics with second at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and sixth at Strade Bianche. Van Avermaet is hoping a week of racing in Italy at Tirreno-Adriatico has sharpened the form for the long day ahead on Saturday. "I felt really good at Tirreno-Adriatico and I take a lot of confidence from the legs I had at the end of those long stages we did ...

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Mark Cavendish likely to miss Milan-San Remo

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

Mark Cavendish ( Dimension Data ) is likely to miss this weekend's Milan-San Remo , Cyclingnews understands. The Dimension Data line-up for the first Monument of the season will only be finalised following the conclusion of Tirreno-Adriatico but Cavendish is unlikely to be one of the seven on the start line. Cavendish has had a quiet start to the season as he has made his comeback to racing following a lengthy layoff at the end of last year due to a recurrence of Epstein Barr, which had also forced him out of a large part of the 2017 season. The Manxman made his season debut at the Vuelta a San Juan in January, almost six months after his final race of 2018. The race gave him a chance to get back into the peloton with limited pressure on his shoulders and his best result was eighth on the opening day ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Can Adam Yates stop Roglic time trialling to overall victory?

Adam Yates is ready to start stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico

After 1,038.5km of racing across six days, this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico will be decided in Tuesday’s final 10km time trial on the out-and-back course in San Benedetto del Tronto. Adam Yates ( Mitchelton-Scott ) will start last as race leader, 25 seconds better than Primoz Roglic ( Jumbo-Visma ) in the general classification, but knows he will have ride the time trial of is life if he is to limit his losses and lift the race winner’s trident trophy. Yates lost 36 seconds to Roglic in the same time trial in last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, when he was fighting for fifth place overall and Roglic the stage victory. He has perhaps improved his time trialing ability since then, but Roglic is now riding for a second overall victory in a WorldTour stage race and seems on superb form. Both are aware of the most likely outcome, but both are cautious about the ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Deceuninck-QuickStep confound their rivals with change of sprint tactics

Julian Alaphilippe on the Tirreno-Adriatico podium after winning stage 6

Deceuninck-QuickStep finished first, third and sixth in the stage 6 bunch sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico , but their biggest prize was outwitting their rivals in the final test before Milan-San Remo, confirming their strength, depth and tactical finesse for every possible kind of finish on Saturday. Julian Alaphilippe won in Jesi on Monday after taking over sprinting duties from Elia Viviani, with the Italian fooling the rivals who were sitting on his wheel by letting his teammate open a decisive gap before he started to sprint. Viviani then kicked late to pass Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the final metres to finish third behind Alaphilippe and Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy). In a perfect display of team racing, Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar rode hard all day to control the break and then Michael Mørkøv and Max Richeze did a superb job in the final kilometres, with the Argentinean confirming ...

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Peter Sagan: Things will be totally different on Saturday at Milan-San Remo

Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) in San Juan

The Deceuninck-QuickStep riders and team staff hugged each other and celebrated at the team bus after Julian Alaphilippe's surprise sprint victory at Tirreno-Adriatico , happy to have taken win number 18 of the season and to have outwitted their sprint rivals. The mood was not so celebrated at the other buses, with an air of embarrassment and frustration that Deceuninck-QuickStep had won again. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) are expected to be Deceuninck-QuickStep's biggest rivals for Milan-San Remo, but they were caught out by Elia Viviani's decision to let Alaphilippe contest the sprint. The 195km stage to Jesi was the last chance for the sprinters and their teams to test their form and tactics before Saturday's Milan-San Remo. Deceuninck-QuickStep showed they are ready for any scenario and able to change tactics on the go. Their rivals can only learn from their mistakes and hope the fatigue ...

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Tirreno stage 6: Alaphilippe takes surprise sprint win

Tirreno stage 6: Alaphilippe takes surprise sprint win

French climber Julian Alaphilippe stuns Tirreno-Adriatico's sprinters with a win in stage 6 drag race. Yates unsure if he can hold GC lead in final TT. Read the full article at Tirreno stage 6: Alaphilippe takes surprise sprint win on VeloNews.com .

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Alaphilippe wins bunch sprint on stage 6

Julain Alaphilippe wins stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Sometimes, the plan doesn't quite come together, yet still, Deceuninck-QuickStep go on winning. It's that kind of year. The penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico seemed to lend itself to Elia Viviani's sprinting talents, but instead, it was Julian Alaphilippe who claimed victory for the Belgian squad in Jesi. Deceuninck-QuickStep spent much of the afternoon working to peg back the day's early break and when the men in blue massed on the front of the peloton in the final kilometre, the scene looked set for Viviani to land his second stage victory of the week. The Italian champion seemed to lose his way somewhat in a chaotic finale, however, and opted to latch onto Peter Sagan's rear wheel as the sprint unfolded. Up ahead, meanwhile, his teammate Max Richeze was delivering a pitch-perfect lead-out for the irrepressible Alaphilippe, and the Frenchman, though hardly on his preferred terrain, produced a scorching acceleration to ...

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Contract talks between Nibali and Bahrain stall

Vuincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

Negotiations between Vincenzo Nibali and Bahrain-Merida show no signs of re-opening with both parties still at loggerheads over the terms of a possible contract extension. The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2019, and although an offer was put on the table by the Bahrain Merida management last season it remains unsigned as Nibali waits for improved terms. Meanwhile, speculation linking the 2018 Milan-San Remo winner with Trek-Segafedo continues to grow, with Bahrain Merida believing that the star GC rider met with the Italian team during Tirreno-Adriatico. Segafredo are reported to be keen on signing Nibali and made an approach to discuss a move several months ago. That interest has only intensified in recent weeks . "There hasn't been any further negotiations and we're still sitting where we were about a month ago," Bahrain Merida's Brent Copeland told Cyclingnews on Monday, during a brief visit to McLaren ...

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Fuglsang dedicates impressive Tirreno-Adriatico win to Scarponi

Fuglsang dedicates impressive Tirreno-Adriatico win to Scarponi

Jakob Fuglsang soloed to a classy victory on stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico, taking Astana's second win in a row at the race, and the team's 19th this season. Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates extended his overall lead with a couple of plucky attacks of his own.

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Roglic anticipates final Tirreno time trial after limiting losses in Recanati

Primoz Roglic leads Alexey Lutsenko, Simon Clarke and Tom Dumouln near the end of stage 2 at Tirreno

Primož Roglič ( Jumbo-Visma ) may have lost more time to his Tirreno-Adriatico GC rival Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) on Sunday's stage 5 , but he was in a philosophical mood afterwards, happy with his effort and looking forward to the challenge of Tuesday's closing time trial. The steep climbs of Italy's eastern Marche region played host to the 'queen stage' of the race, and to Adam Yates bolstering his advantage over the Jumbo-Visma leader by another 18 seconds. Roglič could only watch as the flyweight Yorkshireman sprung away on the double-digit gradients leading to the finish in Recanati. The usually taciturn Slovenian, who already has the UAE Tour to his name this season, was laid back about Sunday's result, satisfied that he gave his best. "At the end, it's just a number in front of your name," he said while warming down after the stage. "I think we gave it ...

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Fuglsang: We’re riding the wave; perhaps we can win all season

Jakob Fuglsang riding up the final climb to victory

Jakob Fuglsang was emotional for several different reasons after winning the hilly fifth stage at Tirreno-Adriatico in Recanati. The Danish rider pointed to the sky as he crossed the finish line, remembering his former teammate Michele Scarponi who won Tirreno-Adriatico ten years ago and was tragically killed in 2017. Fuglsang was also happy to have continued Astana’s winning streak and take a win himself after finishing second at last week’s Strade Bianche. “Obviously this win had to be for him,” Fuglsang said of Scarponi, knowing that Monday’s stage finishes in Jesi, just a few kilometres from the Italian's birthplace in Filottrano. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

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